Staunton, June 4 – That educated urban elites have largely turned against Vladimir Putin is now more or less common ground, but it is often assumed that he can ignore them because of his overwhelmingly support among more rural and less educated groups. But that assumption, while true in the past, is no longer valid.
According to an analysis of recent surveys by VTsIOM, the Levada Center and other polling agencies by the Belanovsky Group, those who had long been Putin’s most reliable supporters are increasingly turning away from him (belan.ru/Research-Presentations/NOVYJ-SPEKTR-POLITIChESKIH-NASTROENIJ-V-ROSSIJSKOM-OBShhESTVE-V-2020-g.pdf).
These people, who in the past had declared themselves “apolitical,” are increasingly being politicized and becoming ever more critical of Putin and his regime, albeit for somewhat different reasons than the liberal intelligentsia in Moscow and other major cities, the Group concludes. They may even be willing to take part in protests should they break out.
They are increasingly angry at the Kremlin leader for his weakness and inability to take the necessary actions to put things in order. They want tough action from him, and in their view, they aren’t getting it. How they will line up with Putin’s other opponents is unclear, but one thing is certain, the Group says: “Putin has lost his last ideological base in society.”